In 1972, the Academy Award-winning crime drama ‘The Godfather’ was released, chronicling the lives of the Corleones, an organized crime family. Early in the film we meet Michael, the youngest son of the family patriarch Don Vito Corleone. Michael is a war hero, and he who wants NOTHING to do with ‘the family business’. After telling his girlfriend Kay a story of how his father does business, he assures her, “That’s my family, Kay. It’s not me.” (see a video clip HERE). After an assassination attempt puts Vito in the hospital in critical condition, Michael visits him at night and finds him unprotected and completely alone. Michael thinks quickly, calls his family for help, and moves his father to another room to avoid the assassins whom he knows are coming to finish the job. He whispers to his father, “Just lie here, Pop. I’ll take care of you now. I’m with you now. I’m with you.” Don Vito manages a weak smile and a single tear rolls down his cheek, almost as if Vito is saying, “Finally. Thank you Michael.”. (See a video clip HERE)
Those three little mono-syllabic words “I’M WITH YOU” signified a turning point, and one that significantly changed Michael Corleone and set him on a new trajectory. Michael went from outsider to insider, and eventually to becoming the Don when his father passed away. Michael’s transformation began in that hospital room. It was perhaps the most significant MOMENT in the film. Our stories are the backbone of our presentations, and effective stories have several powerful components. One significant component is the MOMENT. Your story MOMENTS can occur in a variety of ways. Let’s look at a few.
A REALIZATION/AH-HA MOMENT
When one of your characters realizes, understands, or ‘gets’ something significant, that’s a moment. It could be an understanding of why they had a particular experience, or why another character made a decision or took a particular course of action. In your stories, look for the moments when the character has a realization or AH-HA and be sure to include them.
Can your stories include the unexpected…the twist…where the audience thinks, “I didn’t see THAT coming!”? These moments need not be overly dramatic and earth-shattering. They just have to be unexpected. Revisit your stories, and look for the scenes that have a twist, maybe a twist that you have either overlooked or underplayed.
This often involves a character learning something that changes their decision or opinion. It could be truth revealed that changes a long-held belief, information that had been previously withheld. In your stories and scenes, look for the revelatory moments.
A CHARACTER CHANGE
Like Michael Corleone, characters change as a result of the journey in their story. The change can be positive or negative (not every story ends happily ever after) but it must be significant, and your audience needs to see it. Your story will become more powerful and more meaningful when your audience can witness a change in the main character.
What MOMENTS have you missed, or omitted from your stories? Review your presentations. Look for the moments. Expand on them. Share them with maximum impact. Remember…MOMENTS can magnify your message.
DREAM BIG; WORK BIGGER!